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Monday, July 13, 2020

Irrigation scam: 9 inquiries closed, ACB says no ‘clean chit’ to Ajit Pawar

ACB officers clarified these were routine inquiries into several tenders that appeared to have flouted due procedure. Probe into the cases where FIRs have already been registered continues, they said.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: November 25, 2019 9:07:11 pm
Ajit Pawar, irrigation scam, Ajit Pawar clean chit in irrigation scam, ACB report in irrigation scam, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar, NCP, Maharashtra government, indian express Although Ajit Pawar has not been named as accused in any of the cases yet, then-ACB DGP Sanjay Barve had said in an affidavit in November 2018 that Pawar had intervened in the awarding of irrigation projects contracts.

The Anti Corruption Bureau Monday closed nine inquiries related to the irrigation scam. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is one of the people being investigated in the scam.

Senior officers, however, clarified that these were routine inquiries into several tenders that appeared to have been floated without following due procedure, and no politicians were being probed in these cases.

The officers said Monday’s development does not impact the over two dozen FIRs registered in the alleged multi-thousand crore irrigation scam.

Ajit Pawar, irrigation scam, Ajit Pawar clean chit in irrigation scam, ACB report in irrigation scam, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar, NCP, Maharashtra government, indian express The ACB press note on the issue clarifies: “None of these 9 enquiries is in respect of Shri Ajit Pawar”.

Although Ajit Pawar has not been named as accused in any of the cases yet, then-ACB DGP Sanjay Barve had said in an affidavit in November 2018 that Pawar had intervened in the awarding of irrigation projects contracts, ensuring mobilisation advance (MA) was given to contractors by tweaking rules and by approving irregular escalations of project costs.

A senior officer said that while over 24 FIRs have already been registered, there are investigating several other tenders. “It was nine of these inquiries that have been closed. We need to submit a progress report before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court that will hear the matter on November 28. Investigations in the cases where FIRs have been registered continue,” a senior officer said.

Hitting out at the BJP-Ajit Pawar government, Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged the only decision it had taken in “public interest” was to close “all cases of corruption and malfeasance”.

“‘Contract killing’ of democracy has now also become ‘contract killing’ of honesty and accountability in Maharashtra. No wonder, the only decision taken in ‘public interest’ by BJP-Ajit Pawar is to close all cases of corruption & malfeasance. The BJP way of probity in public life,” Surjewala tweeted.

In a surprise move, Ajit Pawar Saturday took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, announcing support to the BJP.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar has maintained that Ajit acted in his personal capacity and the party does not back his actions. Ajit Pawar has been removed as the party’s legislature unit leader.

On Monday, NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena submitted a letter to the Governor, saying they had the numbers to form the government in Maharashtra.

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